Southern Connecticut residents fight electric rate hikes Thursday, June 12, 2008
By: Chris Garaffa
Company profits as working people suffer from heat waves
Dozens of activists and community members rallied in 95 degree heat on June 7 outside the New Haven, Conn., headquarters of the United Illuminating Company. The protest opposed United Illuminating’s request to the state’s Department of Public Utility Control to raise electrical rates for consumers in southern Connecticut.
Activists and community members mobilize against hikes in electricity rates, New Haven, Conn., June 7.
United Illuminating claims that it is not making enough profits, despite increasing rates by 24 percent in January 2007 and by another 25 percent in July of that same year. The energy supplier made $47.9 million in profits last year and its CEO, Anthony Vallillo, pocketed nearly $1.4 million in salary and bonuses.
Protesters at the rally demanded that the DPUC, which is charged with regulating utility prices in Connecticut, deny the request and roll back the 2007 rate hikes. While United Illuminating is making money hand over fist, many working-class people must decide whether they can afford to turn on potentially life-saving air conditioning and fans during summer heat waves.
Fight the Hike, the organization that called the June 7 rally, promised to continue fighting the rate increases. PSL members attended the rally and have supported Fight the Hike's ongoing work.
The working class, particularly oppressed communities, will be the hardest hit by United Illuminating’s latest profiteering frenzy at the expense of peoples' health. Solidarity with the fight against the rate hikes is needed. Access to electricity and other utilities is a right!